Posted by: Modern Mom | December 20, 2011

Mushroom Hunters

Shaggy Manes

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I had no idea I was moving to the mushroom capital of the world. A bonus for any foodie, especially a mushroom lover like me. It’s a love I share with my hubby, the other self-confessed food snob in the house, and a real “fungi”. (give me a break, I just had to throw that in there.)

In the past few years we’ve taken to hunting mushrooms. It’s his job, mostly, but I’ve become decent at identifying some that grow locally. I’ve even learned the best ways to cook some of the more precious ones he finds. Morels, Chantrelles, Matsutakis, Bear’s Head among others. Our sons have become big fans as well. So it has become a family business.

This fall was a particularly warm one, with nice bouts of warm in between heavy rains. Perfect mushroom makings. There were all sorts of mushrooms popping up all over our yard, which is pretty uncommon. We found a beautiful patch of Shaggy Manes right in our campsite on a maiden voyage with our new camper. Boletes were growing in the mossy parts of our yard. On Marc’s annual hunting trip he found a large Bear’s Head mushroom that he dried at camp and brought home to be used in soups and his famous Stroganoff that the boys love.

We’ve had some interesting ones over the years, and we’re extremely careful about identifying them*. We had a strange bugger pop up under a tree that was reddish and smelled of shrimp. It was a Shrimp Mushroom. Who knew? We had a small patch of lovely lavender stemmed mushrooms that grew from a rotting log under our cedar tree one fall that we identified as Bluets. They were delicious. I just love that we share a palette for so many foods, and that our kids are getting an early education on these things.

This is the kind of hunting I can get behind. If he went to Elk Camp every November and only came back with mushrooms, I’d be a happy woman.

Bear's Head mushroom, cut and drying at Elk Camp 2011.

*A precautionary note: Please be sure to identify, beyond a doubt, any mushroom before eating it. If in doubt, leave it out.

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